The hammer made a thunk, thunk, thunk, as it was dragged across the floor of the mobile home. Bright red blood stained the linoleum. Charlie Whitlock watched as the killer walked toward him. He sobbed.
“I don’t have it, man. I don’t…”
The hammer crashed into his head, and his world went black.
Thermopolis Konan sat in his mobile home; his reading glasses perched on the tip of his nose. A MacBook laptop with a small screen lay in his lap. Various tabs open, he searched for accessories for his tactical shotgun. He frowned. “These folks are insane. They want an arm and a leg for this.” The shotgun leaned against the propane heater. It was a Mossberg 590. He purchased it after his last case.
Things had escalated since the case was closed. Konan had received numerous death threats. His mailbox had an explosive placed in it-twice.
It was a matter of time before they moved from the mailbox to his home. “No mobile home needs this type of set up,” Konan thought. He’d installed movement detection sensors around his property. The detection sensors were linked to four flood lights, two in the front and two in the back. He linked all of it to a radio in his small sitting room. Konan put the radio on a station that inclusively played gangsta rap. He detested gangsta rap, thus, it would serve to wake him from a dead sleep.
He shut down his laptop, turned off his lamp, and made his way to his bedroom. His phone rang. It was his friend, Lt. Lilly Thompson.
“Hey, what’s going on Lilly.”
“You up for a new case?”
“Well, I suppose I could be. Can the Fredericksburg Police Department not handle it?”
“Oh, we can handle it, but there’s a small problem.”
“Your name is written in blood on the trailer wall.”
“Great,” Konan muttered. “Another fan.”
“So, you’ll bring donuts and coffee, eh?”
“Yeah. Send me the address.”
“2125 Watson Road. See you in a few.”
Konan dressed in a greenish-grey tee, jeans, and a pair of Red Wing Irish Setter boots. He shut off the lights, shoved a Springfield Hellcat and three magazines into his jean pockets.
He stepped out the door and turned to lock it. When he turned back around, his mailbox disintegrated into a fiery blast.
“I’m tired of this crap.”
Konan decided he would pursue his mystery mailbox destroyer as soon as he could step away from this new case.
2125 Watson Road was a dirt road that led to a small hill. The mobile home sat in the back corner of the lot. It was hidden from the road. The grass was tall. Apparently, the owner had not cut it at all this summer.
There were no outside lights, booger lights the locals called them. The flash of red and blue lights announced that he’d arrived at the right place. Lilly stood next to a patrol car and watched as Konan walked up.
“I really hope you brought donuts and coffee,” she said in way of greeting.
“One large coffee, black. One box of mixed donuts. Who is the victim, and why am I here?”
“Victims. Charlie Whitlock, his brother, Jarrod, wife Sarah Jean, and his friend Luke Richards.”
“Four victims. Are any of them disabled?”
“No, all were fully functional adults.”
“Come on, sugar britches. Follow me in.”
Konan followed Lilly in. CSI techs stood in various locations of the trailer searching for evidence. Lilly handed him gloves.
“So, Luke Richards answered the door. He was shot point blank twice. Killer walks in. Wife was shot next, one to the throat, the other to the chest. Jarrod fires a slug and misses. Killer fires three rounds, two in the chest, the other in the head. Charlie took one round to the guts. His head was crushed by a ten-pound sledgehammer.”
“Are we talking about a professional?”
“Maybe. It looks that way. But, why a hammer for the killing blow, Konan?”
“Whatever is going on, it’s personal. The killer killed three people with multiple gunshots. Yet, Charlie got hammered. That would lead one to believe that victim four either knew something he shouldn’t or had something that he shouldn’t. Either way, the kill was personal.”
“Personal? I don’t know if it’s personal, but it does seem a touch dramatic.”
Konan walked over to the other victims and stared at them. Lilly watched from where she stood and sipped her coffee. Konan opened the shirt of Luke Richards and frowned.
“What is it, Konan?”
“The shots. Look at ‘em. The killer popped him twice, and the shots are almost through the same hole. Same thing goes for Jarrod over there.”
“Do you have any idea how much practice it takes to keep the same sight picture, especially when you’re moving?”
“So, the killer is a pro.”
“That, or they were just lucky. But that’s not the case.”
“How lucky do you think you have to be to walk into a room outnumbered and pop all of them, and then left without a scratch?”
“Here’s my question, Konan, what has this bunch of rednecks got involved in that required all of them to die?”
Konan shrugged his thin shoulders. Lilly looked at him. He’d never been a huge guy, but he had lost a lot of weight. His face was thinner than she’d ever seen, his eyes showed weariness.
“Who knows, Lilly? In today’s world there is no way of knowing until the investigation turns up something. It might be drugs, or any other thing. Maybe they all hated one another.”
While the techs finished up their duties, Konan walked out into the yard. “Who would write my name in blood on the walls?” Lilly walked out to him.
“You didn’t kill these folks, did you?”
Konan turned and met her eyes. He shook his head no.
“Are you for real? No, Lilly, I didn’t kill them.”
“I didn’t figure you did, but I’ve gotta ask.”
“Yeah, I know.”
The bodies of the dead were loaded into the ambulance and taken to the county morgue where the new medical examiner would perform autopsies on each one.
“What happened to Tammy Bowen,” Konan asked.
“She took a job in Jackson. More money, more benefits, more job security.”
“Yeah, I get it. Who took her place?”
“The new medical examiner is John ‘Bennie’ Walker. He is an older man. He’s worked in the medical field for over thirty years.”
“Ain’t that something.”
“Yep,” Lilly muttered. “Are you going to follow me to the morgue, or should I meet you at the department?”
“I’ll meet you at the morgue.”
“Alright, see you there.”
Konan walked back to his large, red Dodge flatbed truck. He fired it up. The diesel engine rumbled loudly as he pulled out of the yard.
The county morgue sat right outside the city limits of Fredericksburg. Beside the morgue was a large cemetery. Whether or not it was by design no one knew. It gave the morgue a sense of horror, and according to Konan, that horror bled into the personality of the Chief Medical Examiner. All the time the medical examiner spent surrounded by the dead was sure to have an effect on their relationship with the officers that depended on their findings to bring justice to the families that were victimized. Of course, this was only Konan’s opinion.
He pulled up in the gravel parking lot of the morgue and shut off his truck. Lilly was already inside. Konan got out and stretched his arms overhead. At 48, Konan was not old, but he felt older than his 48 years. “It’s not the years, but the mileage that gets you,” he was fond of saying. Konan opened the door and walked in. He walked down the long hallway to Tammy Bowen’s old office. Lilly stood in the doorframe and watched him make his way toward her.
“Come on down here, Konan. I want you to meet Dr. Walker.”
Dr. Bennie Walker was a short bald man, with a solid white Santa Claus beard, and a massive beer belly. His cheeks were flushed red, his eyes bloodshot.
“Howdy, son. You must be Detective Konan. Heard a lot about you.”
“Oh? Well, I’m him. Nice to meet you doctor.”
“As I was saying doctor, we need a rush on these autopsies,” Lilly said.
“And as I told you, detective, there’s an order of precedence. You’re not the only detectives that need an autopsy.”
Lilly sighed and nodded. She looked at Konan and shrugged.
“Just promise me that you’ll get on it as soon as possible.”
“I will,” Walker grunted, “but it’d go a lot quicker if the city would hire some more folks to help me out.”
“Yeah, well there’s nothing we can do about that, doctor. Maybe the next mayor will prioritize hiring more personnel to shore up the M.E.’s office.”
Konan and Lilly’s pursuit of the killer would have to wait for a little longer. At least until the autopsies were complete.